Pastor who called gays sinners convicted of child abuseby Richard Bailey 12/04/2017 10:31:00 0 comments 1 Views
- Kenneth Adkins, 57, of Brunswick, Georgia, was found guilty of 8 counts Monday
- Court heard how he'd taken boy, 15, under his wing, then started grooming him
- He watched the boy have sex with his girlfriend in church and in Adkins' car
- Adkins then joined in, the victim said, as well as sending pictures of his penis
- Adkins' defense argued that both teens were 16, not 15, so it was all legal
- The girl so denied the claim; prosecution said Adkins influenced her mind
- She was living with Adkins and his wife until a month after his arrest
- Adkins became infamous for calling gays 'sinners' after the Orlando shooting
- He didn't 'see none of them as victims' but said they got 'what they deserve'
A married Baptist pastor who said homosexuals got 'what they deserve' after Omar Mateen massacred 49 people at a Florida gay club has been found guilty of eight charges of abuse against a teenage boy and girl.
In a unanimous decision by a Georgia jury, Bishop Kenneth Adkins, 57, of Brunswick was found guilty of molesting two members of his church congregation in 2010.
Since Adkins has a previous criminal history due to drug convictions, and because of Georgia's strict sentencing, he may never be a free man, Savannah Now reported.
Convicted: Kenneth Adkins was found guilty of 8 counts of abuse on Monday by unanimous verdict in a Georgia court. He'd watched a pair of teens have sex then joined in, the jury heard
Controversy: Adkins became nationally infamous last year when he made a series of tweets mocking gay people after 49 people were killed in the Orlando gay club Pulse
Adkins, a drug addict-turned-PR boss-turned-preacher, hit the national headlines in the wake of the shootings at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando last year.
'Dear Gays, Go sit down somewhere,' he tweeted the day after the shooting, in which 49 people were killed and many more injured.
'I know y'all want some special attention. Yall are sinners who need Jesus. This was an attack on America.'
He later tweeted: 'been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don't see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!!'
On Monday, a jury felt he got what he deserved.
Over a week of testimony, they had heard how the victim - now an Army Specialist from Fort Leavenworth - had been groomed by the firebrand preacher.
The victim, who is not being named, said that Adkins had become a 'father figure' to him after his grandfather died, but that the relationship turned sexual in 2010.
He explained how Adkins had bought him gifts and began calling him and texting him, News4Jax reported. The preacher had sent him pictures of his penis, the victim said.
Eventually Adkins told the teen that he wanted to watch him have sex with his girlfriend, to make sure he was doing it properly, the court heard.
Preacher: Adkins is a drug addict-turned-PR-man-turned-preacher. His prior convictions mean he may never be a free man. None of his ten children were in court for the trial
The preacher then joined the pair in the sex acts, he said. He told the court he'd 'lost count' of the times the three had been involved in sexual situations in the church office, in Adkins' car, and at the beach.
The girl in question - who was named in five of the charges Adkins was found guilty of - testified that the events had never happened.
But the prosecution claimed that the girl - who lived with Adkins and his wife until a month after his arrest in August last year - was under his influence.
'She's in his clutches,' said assistant district attorney Katie Gropper. 'What he has done to that girl is not only criminal, it is deplorable.'
Most of Adkins' defense was based not on denying the claims made by the victim, but on questioning whether he was actually 15 at the time, or 16.
Had he and his girlfriend been 16, they would have been legally capable of consenting to sex with Adkins under Georgia law.
In his closing statements - which took an hour and 20 minutes - attorney Kevin Gough told the jury eight times that even if they disliked Adkins, he should not be found guilty of 'hypocrisy'.
'Where is the evidence that any criminal act took place?' he asked. 'It may be awkward at public events, church, if you return an innocent verdict, but [be] assured, you should not take that into consideration.'
None of Adkins' family - including his ten children - were present for any stage of the trial.
Retraction: Adkins had later tried to retract his controversial tweets, saying that he was talking about a Jacksonville gay group he'd argued with over anti-gay-discrimination ordinance
Adkins was convicted of two counts of aggravated child molestation, five counts of child molestation, and one count of enticing a child.
He will be sentenced on April 25.
In the wake of the fallout from his Orlando tweets last year, Adkins had attempted a retraction.
Adkins, who had run a PR company in Florida prior to his time as a firebrand Georgia preacher, claimed that he was speaking only about a Jacksonville group and not gay people in general.
He had come under fire previously for gathering African-American community leaders to change anti-gay-discrimination ordinance in the city, Jacksonville.com reported at the time.
Sentencing: Adkins will be sentenced on April 25. His lawyer did not deny the claims, but said that both teens were 16 - therefore of the age of consent in Georgia - at the time